American Idol

American Idol 2016 – Live Blog and Recap – Hollywood Round #1 (VIDEO)

Welcome to the live blog and recap for American Idol 2016, “Hollywood Round No. 1”! Host Ryan Seacrest and judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez, and Harry Connick, Jr. continue the search for the final American Idol!

Tonight is the start of Hollywood Week on the farewell season of American Idol, which means we’re facing the final group auditions and final judgments ever, as we march towards the reveal of your Top 24! Expect a lot of favorites to get cut, and for some unexpected contenders to arise, if this is anything like Hollywood Rounds of the past. If nothing else, this week should give Michael Slezak and Melinda Doolittle some great material for the next episode of Reality Check. (Hell, I’m still getting over their controversial opinions from this week!)

Keep it locked right here, as I’ll be updating with commentary and videos of the highlight performances as soon as they become available!

American Idol 2016 - Live Blog and Recap - Hollywood Round #1 (VIDEO)

Credit: FOX

Let’s get this show on the road!


-We open with video of some of the Golden Ticket recipients packing their bags to head to Hollywood, with a voiceover from Harry explaining that it’s much harder to find a star today than it was when American Idol first started, since there are so many other ways to get noticed now, whether it’s the internet or through other competition shows. It’s an astute point that I hadn’t really considered. Maybe that’s why recent contestants haven’t been as successful as those from earlier seasons? Just a theory. In an amusing moment, John Wayne Schulz forgets his guitar and has to turn his car around to go back and get it.

-The judges meet with the contestants in the Dolby Theater, with Harry announcing that half of the contestants will go home after today.


-Jordan recalls what a tough day it was when he got through to Hollywood but his wife didn’t. However, he states that she’s alright with it it now, and that she’s being truly supportive. Jordan states he’s wanted to do this all his life, stating that he pointed at his TV after Kelly Clarkson won and said, “One day, I’m going to win that show.” Let’s see.

-Jordan sings “Should’ve Been Us” by Tori Kelly, and I liked this a lot better than his audition, which I also thought was good. Dalton sings “California Dreamin'”, and this is another performance I liked better than the audition. He reminds me a lot of Jacob Hoggard, former Canadian Idol star and frontman Hedley, both in look and in sound. And that’s a good thing. Jaci is up next, and she sings an a cappella version of “Centuries” by Fall Out Boy. It’s alright, but I don’t think it’s good enough to get through.


-Jordan calls his wife, who freaks out when she learns he’s made it through. Dalton is happy that his friendly rivalry with Jaci can continue into group round, stating that this is the last shot anyone will ever have at being the next American Idol. I like this little rivalry, although I think — at least from what I’ve seen — that Dalton is the better performer overall.

-We then get a montage of three other people advancing to Group Rounds: JENN BLOSIL (“Brother” by NEEDTOBREATHE ft. Gavin DeGraw), THOMAS STRINGFELLOW (“Too Close” by Alex Clare), and OLIVIA ROX (“Genie In A Bottle” by Christina Aguilera). I REALLY wish we could have seen more of Jenn’s performance, because it sounded outstanding from what little we heard. I just love hearing her at the piano. Thomas also cut back on some of his weird vocal tics with his performance, while Olivia remained as solid as always (and her doting father seems pretty proud, as well he should be). All in all, this was a good trio to put through.


-Back from break as we highlight the greater ratio of girls to guys this season, as the ladies are totally killing it. Jessica Cabral sings “Photograph” by Ed Sheeran, and I actually liked her audition better. This song didn’t really give her an opportunity to show off her voice and its range, although her tone is as lovely as ever. Melanie Tierce sings “Invincible” by Kelly Clarkson, and once again, I liked the audition better. It’s a solid vocal, but it’s a bit shouty in places, in my opinion. I think it was mostly just down to song choice. Sonika Vaid sings “Almost Doesn’t Count” by Brandy, and this is the first of the three that was better than the audition. If anything, I thought J-Lo cut her off way too soon. I wanted to hear more!

-Melanie is among those called forward in her line. Harry then drops the ax, announcing that those in the front row have been eliminated.

SONIKA VAID and JESSICA CABRAL advance to Group Rounds!

MELANIE TIERCE is eliminated from AMERICAN IDOL 2016!

-Melanie is disappointed, and it’s like a knife through the heart to have to hear the celebrations of the people who went through. But she remains strong despite her heartbreak, thanks in large part to the amount of family and friends there to support her.

-We then get a brief segment with LA’PORSHA RENAE, who talks about wanting to do this for her daughter, to show her that you can do anything in life. It’s an inspirational bit of business, and I find myself rooting for her right away, try as I might not to be manipulated by backstories. La’Porsha sings “Roar” by Katy Perry, and it’s honestly my favorite performance of the night so far. It’s beautiful and soulful, and her vocal control is on-point. Loved this.

LA’PORSHA RENAE advances to Group Rounds!

-La’Porsha celebrates with her little girl (and some other contestants who got through whom I don’t recognize. Seriously, just a random tag at the bottom of the screen with names would be wonderful right now for recappers like me).

-Back from break with a montage of people who just aren’t ready for primetime. However, we don’t get any of their names, because of course we don’t. Except for a girl named Mary who makes a pun on the word “American”.


-We get a video package of the guys talking about all the beautiful girls around here right now, complete with Daniel getting his flirt on, and Harrison calling his grandfather to tell him about all the lovely ladies in Hollywood. Harrison Cohen sings “Keep Your Head Up” by Andry Grammer, and it’s a really nice vocal. I can’t say I was blown away or anything, but I feel like he definitely deserves a shot in Group Rounds. Daniel Farmer sings “Treasure” by Bruno Mars, and I felt it was a bit rough around the edges. He’s definitely got a voice, particularly a sweet upper register, but this song wasn’t right for him. Manny Torres sings “Can’t Feel Face” by The Weeknd, and this is a lot better. He’s got a really slick vibe, although he really has to tone down the ego before he becomes unlikable. Come on, man, you’re repping us Ricans out here!

-Harry calls a few names to step forward, among them Harrison. He then declares that those in the back row will be advancing.

DANIEL FARMER and MANNY TORRES advance to Group Rounds!

HARRISON COHEN is eliminated from AMERICAN IDOL 2016!

-We then get a montage of other performances, including Lee Jean (singing a gorgeous acoustic version of “All of the Stars” by Ed Sheeran), Melany Huber (who sings a decent rendition of “Sweeter” by Gavin DeGraw, and Shelbie Z. (who sings a song I don’t recognize, because I suck at country music). Ultimately, Melany is the only person who doesn’t get through.

LEE JEAN and SHELBIE Z. advance to Group Rounds!

MELANY HUBER is eliminated from AMERICAN IDOL 2016!

-Shelbie Z. fights back tears when talking about everything she’s done to get here. Like try out for The Voice?

-Back from break with Day Two of the Lines of Ten round, with the pressure setting in for all the people who haven’t gone yet. J-Lo says they made a lot of cuts, but tells the contestants not to be intimidated. Keith agrees, telling everyone to let loose and kill it. Ryan goes to sit in the audience with Jeneve Rose Mitchell’s family, as her line steps up to kick off the day.


-Jeneve talks about how this is her first time in Hollywood, and how there are cars everywhere. She says there’s no noise back at her house generally, unless it’s crickets. She sings “Boondocks” by Little Big Town while playing her upright bass, and while I like Jeneve, I absolutely hate this. The bass was just a bad choice, in my opinion, because it didn’t match the melody of the song at all, really. That said, I really don’t expect they’ll cut her. She’s way too unique to let go.

-And sure enough, Jeneve is the only person in her line to make it through…

JENEVE ROSE MITCHELL advances to Group Rounds!

-Jeneve still can’t believe she’s made it through on American Idol. Meanwhile, some of the girls who made it through the previous day go on a tour of Hollywood. While strolling through town, they see One Direction doing a soundcheck for their performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Ryan talks with Jimmy, who’s just wandering around outside, because why not?


-Gianna recaps her backstory, stating that her mom is Brenda K., and that she and J-Lo grew up together. She goes on to add that her mother is basically her fashion coach, makeup and hairstylist, and manager, among a bunch of other different titles. Brenda K. is here today to support Gianna on her audition. She sings “One Night Only” by Jennifer Hudson, and it’s a solid vocal. I think she’s got this great, Amy Winehouse-esque tone to her voice that’s worth exploring as the competition rolls on. Tristan is up next, and her mother is actually here today as well, which means the world to her. Tristan sings “Something In the Water” by Carrie Underwood, and I’m not sure this is the best song for her voice. But she’s really great at connecting with the emotion of a song, so I ultimately left this audition impressed.

-Harry calls Gianna forward, and then tells her to take a step back. He then tells the back row they’re through to the next round.


-The girls hug their mothers, and it’s all too cute for words.


-Back from break with Ryan doing pushups, without realizing the cameras are rolling. We then get a series of Hollywood Week flashbacks of past contestants, and current contestants talking about how surreal it is to be at Hollywood Week. Michelle Marie finds out she’s not the only Idol superfan in attendance, as she meets Kyrsti Jewel, who turns 16 today. Michelle proudly announces the news to the entire crowd, drawing big applause. How cute. Michelle Marie sings “Dibs” by Kelsea Ballerini, and it’s a cute performance more than anything else. Her voice is there, but I’m not sure how far she’ll go, really. Kyrsti is up next, and I actually think Michelle did the better job of the two. That isn’t to say that Kyrsti doesn’t have a voice, but I think she was just sort of off today, sounding a bit strained in places.

-Harry calls several names to step forward, including Michelle Marie. The front row is advancing.

MICHELLE MARIE advances to Group Rounds!

KYRSTI JEWEL is eliminated from AMERICAN IDOL 2016!

-Kyrsti fights back tears about how disappointed she is (after looking slightly annoyed that Michelle kept joyously hugging her after Harry revealed the decision, as if Kyrsti is going to be overjoyed that Michelle went through and she didn’t). However, her parents are super supportive of her.

-We then get a montage of eliminated contestants, including hometown favorites such as KERRY COURTNEY, BROOK SAMPLE, USEN ISONG, REANNA MOLINARO, ETHAN COOTS, and JAKE DYLAN. Shame to see Kerry go. I thought he really had something special. He holds his head high though, saying his mother would be proud. We don’t actually see or hear any of the performances though, so we don’t know why the judges made the decisions they did. That’s the one thing I’ve always disliked about the elimination montage.


-Trent tells a fellow contestant that he just received a call from his doctor, telling him he has mono. He assures the fellow contestant that he can’t catch it unless they kiss, which won’t be a problem. However, Trent is still nervous and freaking out, fighting back tears over his crummy circumstances. Offscreen, a producer even expresses concern over Trent, telling him to take a break and spend the next few moments resting. Trent sings “Lay Me Down” by Sam Smith, and you’d never know he was sick, honestly. It’s my favorite performance of the night. He has such a smooth, silky tone, and an absolutely gorgeous falsetto. He holds a killer, long falsetto note at the end that I found really impressive. Poh sings “Stay” by Rihanna, expressing that although her sister made it through last season, this is her last and only shot to do the same herself. It’s a nice vocal, but nothing special, really. Still, I found it cute how she shouted out to her sister up in the nosebleeds. That said, they both seem incapable of reining in those tears, just crying all over the place. But whatever, bonds of sisterhood rule. Anyway, Emily goes last and sings “I Wish I Could Break Your Heart” by Cassadee Pope, and I love this even more than her audition. She’s a ready-made star who should totally make the Top 24.

-J-Lo calls the first row forward and says they’ll be going through. This row includes none of the people we’ve seen, so you know something is up. Naturally, J-Lo says that the back row is advancing as well, because of course. I’m torn on whether or not torturing the contestants like this makes for good television or not. Sometimes it’s annoying, and other times it’s a breath of relief. I guess it all depends it on whether or not you’re invested in the people getting jerked around.


-This is shaping up to be a solid Group Round, with an interesting mix of personalities, although I’m surprised by how few contestants we actually saw tonight. I guess we’ll find out which other favorites made it through and which got cut tomorrow, although I hate not knowing as we head into the group rounds themselves. Ah well, I guess with an accelerated season, and only an hour on Wednesday nights, there’s not much you can do without making the entire episode one long montage.

Anyway, what did you think of tonight’s episode? Did you agree with the people who made it through? Sound off in the comments!

Until tomorrow night, thank you for reading and hanging out!


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